30 Sep 2007
I awoke to sun shine which stayed out most of the day with the odd cloud floating by. As yesterday it was lovely and warm in the sun but very cool in the shade.
I bottled the figs then cycled into Chasseneuil to get bread and came the long way home, 30 kms in all. David and Leo decided to go for a ride together and completed 9 kms.
I came home and cut the grass then cut back the dead wood and the branches with curled leaves on the old plum tree. David cleaned their campervan from top to bottom, he said one could eat off the floor; the hamlet was certainly a hive of activity today.
1 Oct 2007
I woke up with the rain on the roof window at 05h00 but managed to doze off again for a while.
I painted gloss on our bathroom door, bedroom door and the boiler room door. I do not normally paint gloss and it is normally left for Nigel but after the first door and it did not look too bad I carried on with the other doors as well. My skills must be improving!
The warm wind was still blowing and when it started raining lightly again, the windows steamed up on the outside, I have never seen that happen before. As the rain was not blowing onto the windows I opened up both the lounge and kitchen windows to let the warm air through and the thermometer went up from 15 degrees to 17.5 inside.
Amazing sunset once again.
2 October 2007
I went into Chasseneuil and bought a few things. I discovered there was a tea and coffee room run by an English woman, it is also a health shop and she can order Solgar tablets for me. Good news for when we make the final move permanently to France. Somehow the day disappeared with little to show for it.
3 October 2007
I rubbed down the two doors in the spare room and painted undercoat on the bare wood. Spoke to one of the neighbours as he was walking back with his gun over his shoulder. He said he had not managed to shoot anything!
I cleaned my bike which had got very dirty and than decided that I had better clean Nigel’s bike as well. It ended up taking the whole afternoon, I had not realised they were both so dirty.
David came around with a big bag of apples from his grandmother’s tree. Yummy, they will keep me going for several days.
I prepared more figs for bottling tomorrow.
Just as I was going to bed I heard a too-wit too-woo from outside and with the binoculars I just managed to pick up a view of a Tawny Owl in the oak tree. Photo by:- http://www.wildlifetrust.org.uk/
4 Oct 2007
I realised too late that I was low on sugar for bottling the figs so I used brown sugar to make up the quantity, sure it will be OK but will it taste a bit different!
I spent the day painting, our bedroom door, bathroom door, boiler room and the two doors in the spare room.
I later caught up with emails before going to bed.
5 October 2007 Fri
The light was not particularly good but I managed to get the bathroom and toilet door rubbed down. The toilet was a pain as the previous coat of paint just started peeling off so I had to strip it off completely. Some places it was easy and in others it was very stubborn. With all the lights on I managed to get one coat of paint on but it took me the whole day from start to finish.
Put the handles back on the two spare room doors and cleaned the spare room and barn in the evening.
8 Oct 2007
I went into Chasseneuil for a few things, very wet and drizzly.
I got soaked in the afternoon as I thought the rain had come to a halt and I decided that while I could I had better cut the grass and put the washing on the line. It was not a good idea as it turned out as I had only been cutting the grass for about 10mins when it started drizzling again. I grabbed the washing and threw it through the door then just kept cutting the lawn. The rain got heavier and heavier and by the time I had finished (yes I did finish) I was well and truly soaked – at least the grass got cut but not as low as I would have liked. With all the leaves now falling from the trees, the wet grass and leaves combined made cutting more and more difficult.
9 Oct 2007
I painted the bathroom and loo doors and frames. I put yesterday’s washing back out to try and get it dry. I managed to catch up with some emails during the day.
I found a tiny lizard in the passage sliding on the tiles, think it was exhausted as it let me pick it up and take it outside where I put it on the lounge window sill. It then took off once it had a grip on the sill. My good deed for the day!
10 Oct 2007
I woke up to rain so did a bit of tidying up and cleaning. I then caught up with remaining emails that I did not send yesterday. At lunch time I thought that I may be able to fit in a cycle ride as the sky was clearing but it did not last long and it very soon started raining again.
11 Oct 2007
David thought I was asleep as I had not opened the shutters early in the morning so he did not get to tell me it was the funeral today of Octavie’s husband. He has been ill for so many years now it was a happy release but still a shock for the family. It was sad that David did not ring the bell as I would have like to have been there to show my respects. I only found out in the evening when I saw David and Florence.
The weather man had it right today and I did a completely different circuit on my bike. It had a couple of patches of rough tar that I suspect Nigel would not appreciate on his racing bike so I made a mental note not to take him that way. I went to Chasseneuil then on roads sort of up between St Angeau and St Claud and ended up in St Claud. I then made my way towards Roumazieres, this was on a narrow tar road and suddenly I heard a large truck behind me, I chickened out and went off the edge of the tar only to get a puncture, this time in the front tyre. With all the rain we have had in the past week all the ‘junk’ had been washed to the sides of the road. If I was superstitious I would say these things happen in threes but I have decided that I am not superstitious anymore!! I refuse to have 3 punctures in a row!! I was at the 25km point and about the middle of the ride. Thankfully being a front wheel it was a lot easier to take off and fix than the last puncture on the back wheel. At Roumazieres I turned towards Mazières and onto Montemboeuf then home. I thought that this route would not be too hilly but I got it wrong! No major hills but long drags that made my legs work overtime, the last hill after Montemboeuf before home seemed like a mountain and normally I don’t have a problem with it. Sure it did me good though and it was 56km in all.
The gas ran out while I was cooking dinner so I had to change to the small standby cylinder.
12 Oct 2007
I went in to Chasseneuil to collect the gas then went off to Limoges to collect Nigel who flew in for a hard earned few days rest away from the UK.
13 Oct 2007 Sat
We went into Chasseneuil in the morning. I took Nigel to the English shop to meet the owners and have a cup of coffee.
We both cycled in the afternoon, Nigel is not used to our hills here but he coped very well with his racing bike which is not equipped with the very low gears that I have on my touring bike, we finished a 22 km trip. Octavie popped in later and had a chat which we both struggled to follow. Nigel is usually pretty good but with the long spells in the UK it takes him several days to get used to speaking French again.
14 Oct 2007 Sun
We both went down and had a look at the Bric a Brac in Chasseneuil but there was mainly a load of junk for sale. I guess though that somebody finds something of interest. We bought bread then decided to go and have a look around La Rochefecauld. The holiday season was obviously over and it was very quiet and everything was closed.
In the afternoon we both went out for a ride and covered 36km.
On our return the sun was shining so we were both lazy and we took advantage of the loungers and a couple of good books.
15 Oct 2007 Monday
We went shopping to buy lots of wine for our return to the UK and winter. It is so much cheaper in France and we like to keep our stocks up.
In the evening we had everyone around for aperitifs, David and family also Octavie and her daughter plus grand daughter. The French was fast and furious and I have to admit to losing quite a considerable amount of the conversation but we all had a good time.
16 Oct 2007
I had brought a double wardrobe over with me in the car that we had taken apart for travelling purposes so we spent most of the morning trying to work out how it all went back together again, successfully I may add. We then went off to buy some bread for our standard bread and cheese lunch which we took with us on our bikes to the lake for a picnic. We did a 40km round trip.
17 Oct 2007
I went into Chasseneuil for bread etc while Nigel rubbed down the bathroom windows that I struggled to reach. Brian and Erica came to dinner in the evening so my afternoon was busy preparing the food.
18 Oct 2007
We woke up late. Went to La Rochefoucauld in the morning and bought manure for the rhubarb plants. In the afternoon we cut what parts of the hedge that I needed help with. In the evening we went up to Octavie for a drink and snacks.
19 Oct 2007
Nigel went on his bike to get bread while I cut the lawn. Nigel dug over the veggie garden on his return. David came round to say goodbye; it was his birthday and we packed the car ready for an early start tomorrow.
20 Oct 2007 Saturday
Here ends the chapter on France for another few months while we return to the chilly grey winter in the UK!